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EDWINS collaborating with Fredrick Douglass High School to bring new culinary tech program

edwins too
Posted at 12:26 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 12:26:38-05

CLEVELAND — Food has been a lifeline and the kitchen, a safe space for Brandon Chrostowski, founder of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant, a program that helps formerly incarcerated adults create a career in the culinary and hospitality industry.

It’s his passion for the culinary world and helping people through food that led to creating a new culinary career technical program in partnership with Fredrick Douglass High School, an alternative high school that services students in need of a high school diploma.

“Collaborating with the Oakmont Education team to offer interactive learning opportunities for the students of Frederick Douglass High is critical to creating pathways to success. The hands-on experience and knowledge gained as part of the training program ensures that this next generation not only has a foundation in the culinary industry but applicable skills to provide them with a competitive edge,” said Chrostowski in a news release. “It's harder now more than before to excel in life, but if we can provide an environment that promotes greatness in someone through culinary arts, we've won. This model works, and I say that from personal experience, as someone who had to take recovery courses to graduate high school. I was surrounded by a great mentor in the kitchen and that made all the difference. I can’t wait to see the first graduates in chef whites making it happen!”

From learning how to safely handle food to mastering various cooking techniques, students will gain basic gastronomy insights and proper knife skills, all the while preparing to enter an apprenticeship program at the end of the school year.

The program will be led by culinary chef instructor and Vice President of the American Culinary Federation Cleveland Chapter, Claudia Diaz.

She said the program will be empowering to students who will find a new path to success.

“Doing what you love and loving what you do guarantees living your best life. My goal is to empower the students by helping them find their passion in culinary arts. Changing one mindset at the time, while honoring those who believed in me at times when believing in myself was tough. Now is the time to pay it forward,” said Diaz.

By providing students the pathway to future opportunities in the culinary world, from executive chefs to restaurateurs, Dr. Jerry Farley, Vice President of career tech at Oakmont Education, said this program will be a new beginning to students.

“What do Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, and Cake Boss star, Buddy Valastro have in common? They all dropped out of high school. Their ability to succeed through a non-traditional path is the inspiration that fueled Frederick Douglass High School to launch a culinary program. I am delighted to see an opportunity to ignite the passions of young people who aspire to enter the hospitality world. Who knows – from such humble beginnings – perhaps one of our graduates may someday become a celebrity chef!”

Fredrick Douglass High School and EDWINS said additional details about the program will follow in the coming months. An official ribbon-cutting for their new career tech wing will also happen then.

Anyone interested in the culinary program can contact Amy Harrington at 216-272-3033.

RELATED: Edwins Too crew adds elementary students to cooking staff, new program teaches healthy nutrition and early career prep

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